Thursday, June 15, 2017

Last Call For Mr. Unpopular Over Here, Con't

Republicans' satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. took a hit since last month. Forty-one percent of Republicans say they are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S., down 17 percentage points since May. At the same time, satisfaction among Democrats and independents has remained low.

The honeymoon may, in fact, be over for Trump among his base.  When only the base matters, and you stop pretending you ever actually cared about said base, well, things start going bad, fast.

In the week since fired FBI Director James Comey leveled his explosive charges at the president, Capitol Hill Republicans have followed a two-track response. With virtual unanimity, they have insisted that even if Trump did everything Comey alleged, the behavior does not warrant criminal action or impeachment. And simultaneously, while the Trump-Comey confrontation has monopolized media attention, both chambers have advanced deeply conservative policy proposals—with House Republicans voting to repeal the major financial regulations approved under former President Barack Obama, and Senate Republicans working in private toward a plan to repeal Obama’s Affordable Care Act. 
Both of these responses rest on the calculation that Republicans can best avoid losses in 2018 by mobilizing their base supporters, no matter how other voters respond to their actions. But the choice to aim their governing decisions at such a narrow spectrum of Americans could magnify the risks facing Republicans in 2018—and, for that matter, Trump in 2020. As Trump’s presidency careens through increasingly turbulent waters, congressional Republicans are lashing themselves ever more tightly to its mast.

That was most apparent in their collective shrug at Comey’s Senate Intelligence Committee testimony. Strikingly, no leading Republican argued that Comey was fabricating when he said Trump encouraged him to drop the FBI investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Rather, in virtual unison, Republicans declared that even if Trump made the remarks Comey reported, his actions were at most inappropriate, and not illegal. 
The unanimity among Hill Republicans contrasted sharply with the response to Comey’s testimony from the mainstream legal community. Some experts defended Trump’s actions. But a wide array of former federal prosecutors, like prominent former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara; Watergate investigators; and law professors argued that the pattern of behavior Comey described justified opening an obstruction-of-justice investigation. Congressional Republicans have summarily dismissed those conclusions. 
That supine acceptance follows the pattern established when Trump previously violated other norms, like not releasing his tax returns. Every time Trump has broken a window, GOP leaders have obediently swept up the glass, if sometimes after some initial grumbling. That pattern of deference could help explain why Trump might imagine Republicans would ultimately defend him even if he fired special counsel Robert Mueller, as he’s reportedly mused this week.

Trump went on another tirade about witch hunts and Hillary on Twitter today.  If even the base decide he's a petulant loser, then all bets are off as to what depths Trump will sink to in order to try to stay in power.

Guess Who's Coming To Father's Day

The Trump regime isn't even really trying to hide their contempt for public education anymore, and are just being obviously awful now whenever Education Secretary Betsy DeVos can manage it.

The Education Department invited representatives from two anti-LGBT groups to speak at a secretive event on Thursday, a move that prompted the national Parent Teacher Association to pull out of the daylong "Engaging Fathers and Families" event. 
Representatives for the evangelical groups Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council — which advocate for gay conversion therapy — both spoke at the event, according to a copy of the agenda that was obtained by BuzzFeed News, sitting on a panel called "Family Engagement in Faith-based Organizations." The agenda was first reported by Politico. 
The National PTA, which has 4 million members nationwide, said it withdrew from the event after it learned of the two groups' participation, saying in a statement that they were "not in alignment" with the PTA's stance on protecting gay youth. 
The event Thursday, which was hosted ahead of Father's Day, included several high-level officials, including acting undersecretary Jim Manning and the head of elementary and secondary education. 
While the event was live streamed, there was no agenda made publicly available in advance. 
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos did not attend the event, according to the agenda. She has said publicly that she "supports equality" and has "always" been opposed to gay conversion therapy, but under her watch, the department has come under fire for several stances that advocates say harm gay children. Along with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, DeVos rescinded protections for transgender children put in place by the Education and Justice departments under Barack Obama. 
DeVos's extended family are some of the biggest donors to both Focus and the Family and FRC, giving millions of dollars over the course of the past decade.

On its website, FRC warns of the danger of allowing gays to raise children, and it has falsely claimed that gay men are more likely to sexually abuse children in their care.

I've long talked about the DeVos dream of privatizing the tens of billions spent on public education in America and creating a permanent two-tier system where only the "right kids" get a quality education, and "undesirable" children get nothing...hey, maybe they don't even need an education because they should maybe start working for a living, the little vermin.  The notion that groups like the FRC weren't specifically invited by DeVos, one of their biggest donors, is too stupid to fathom as she bravely ducked out of the meeting.

After all, you need to cover both ends of the school to prison pipeline in this country, and you have to profit from it while doing it.

The Trumpcare Tornado

Folks, it's not going to be just tens of millions of people on Medicaid or individual plans who are going to be utterly screwed should Trumpcare pass, it will also be tens of millions of people on employer group plans who will suddenly find themselves facing denied insurance coverage over the return of annual and lifetime coverage limits.

The Senate health care bill is expected to allow states to relax the Affordable Care Act rules only on benefits, not on pricing as the House bill does. But that change could impact people far beyond those states, according to a new analysis by the liberal Center for American Progress — because it could lead to a return of annual and lifetime benefit limits, and not just in the states with the waivers. 
The bottom line: As many as 27 million Americans could face annual limits on their coverage, and 20 million could be hit with lifetime limits, according to the analysis.

That's more than eight million people in the big Trump states: Florida, NC, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan who will get screwed by annual limits, and five million plus who will get lifetime limits on their employer-based coverage.

But that's what you voted for, America.

Why it could happen: The Affordable Care Act bans lifetime and annual limits, but only for the 10 categories of "essential health benefits" defined in the law. If a state decides that, say, prescription drugs or maternity care aren't essential benefits anymore, insurers can bring back annual and lifetime limits for them.

Why it could spread beyond those states: Large employers that operate in several states can choose which state they want to use as the basis for their benefits. So if an employer operates in 15 states, and one of them has a waiver from ACA benefit rules, it can set all of its benefits based on that state.

How the study was done: CAP based its estimates on a Willis Towers Watson survey of large employers, in which 20 percent said they'd bring back annual limits and 15 percent said they'd bring back lifetime limits if the ACA rules were repealed. It also used survey data suggesting how many people get their health insurance from large employers.

So that means that big blue states like California, New York, and Illinois would get screwed too as long as they provide insurance in red states who will waive protections on patients.   That's what those states didn't vote for, but hey.

And remember, this is the Senate bill we're talking about.  The details are still hidden because Mitch and the boys don't want America to see the cockroaches scatter in the light.  America overwhelmingly hates this plan, but it looks more and more like we're going to get it anyway, and Trump will sign it into law and screw tens of millions of us.

Fun, huh?


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